Charity warns of pandemic impact on cancer cases

Illustrative photo of a woman receiving radiation therapy treatment for breast cancer Photo: Shutterstock

Illustrative photo of a woman receiving radiation therapy treatment for breast cancer Photo: Shutterstock

Luxembourg’s Fondation Cancer has warned that the impact of people missing out on check-ups and cancer prevention screenings because of the pandemic will only be felt in the long-term.

The charity on Tuesday published its 2020 annual report, a year marked by the pandemic that saw the healthcare sector shut down all but essential activities during the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak.

“The year 2020 will be remembered as the year of covid for all, but that hasn't made cancer go away,” the organisation said in a press release, adding that cancer patients were at higher risk from Sars-CoV-2 and that the pandemic had made treatment more difficult.

It also warned that people did not receive check-ups and cancer prevention screenings because of the pandemic. “It is not yet clear what impact this may have in the long term on cancers discovered later than they should have been,” the foundation said.

Founded in 1994, the foundation funds cancer research, awareness-raising activities and the support of cancer patients and their families.

The Fondation Cancer last year raised €2.9m, growing donations despite the pandemic, which saw its main fundraising event--the Relais pour la vie--cancelled.

The funds raised included €2.3m donated by individuals, €50,300 given by companies and organisations as well as €505,096 left to the charity as part of inheritances and wills. In 2019, the charity raised €2.4m in total.

The charity moved around half of its 1,845 counselling sessions online last year, it said. It also spent €461,700 to support financially disadvantaged cancer patients.

The bulk of the foundation’s spending every year is dedicated to research and the organisation last year signed a 2020 to 2023 cooperation agreement with Luxembourg’s National Research Fund (FNR) to cooperate more closely.

The Fondation Cancer gave €2.7m to cancer research last year, up from €2.3m in 2019. “Research is important for our patients. It gives hope,” said the charity’s president Carole Brauer in the annual report.

“2020 was a difficult year for all of us and especially for people with cancer,” Brauer said. “I am proud of everything the Fondation Cancer achieved in 2020 despite all diffulties.”